WAKEFIELD, VA. — Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie talked up his blue-collar roots and said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) isn't the centrist he claims to be at a luncheon before Virginia's biggest annual political event, the Shad Planking.
The Senate candidate repeatedly targeted lower-income workers in the speech, promising to "stand up for our miners" by opposing climate change legislation and talking up his blue-collar roots as a grandson of a janitor.
"Most of us don't fill our tank, we put down $10 or $20 and squeeze out as much as we can from the pump. And when Mark Warner took office you could get 10 and a half gallons for $20. And today, it's less than six. And that's one of the reasons people are feeling squeezed — the lower wages, the lost jobs, the higher energy prices and the higher healthcare prices," he said.
Speaking to a few dozen Republican Party activists and local officials in the small town southeast of Richmond, Gillespie said that ObamaCare will decrease workers' hours and that Democrats thought it was a good thing that people will be "working fewer hours and spending more time playing Candy Crush."
After saying he's the first from his family to graduate from college, Gillespie said Democratic policies backed by Warner are making it harder for others to move up the economic ladder.
"I fear we're losing that kind of opportunity, that kind of upward mobility, as a result of the policies we're putting in place," he said.
After the speech, juggling a country ham under his arm presented to him by the local Republican group hosting the event, he said those "who go to work with their name stitched across their shirt are really getting crushed," and that his campaign would focus on helping them.